Heavy rains, thunderstorms could bring flooding to region

2013-04-17T20:45:00Z 2013-04-17T23:46:04Z Heavy rains, thunderstorms could bring flooding to regionTimes Staff nwitimes.com
April 17, 2013 8:45 pm  • 

Several rounds of showers and thunderstorms are expected through week's end, prompting a flood watch for the region.

The National Weather Service issued the flood watch for Benton, Jasper, Lake, Newton, Porter, Cook and Will counties from 1 p.m. Wednesday through Friday morning.

Periods of heavy rainfall from late Wednesday morning through late Thursday night are possible and could bring 4 inches of rain or more by Friday morning.

Heavy rain moving through the area Wednesday evening delayed Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District trains coming from the Gary Airport. The delays were caused by broken gates, according to NICTD's website.

Previous rainfall has already caused saturated soil and rises in river levels in many areas, increasing the potential for flooding with the latest system.

The Kankakee River at Shelby is under a flood warning through Friday morning. as of 4:45 a.m. Wednesday, the river was at 10 feet. Flood stage is 9 feet.

Marcus Malczewski, superintendent for the Lake County Highway Department, said crews sent a load of sand to the Wildwood Estates subdivision near the river as well as 1,000 empty sandbags as a precaution.

Malczewski said he expects another load of sand to be delivered later Wednesday.

Dan Repay, executive director of the Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission, said his group and municipalities on the Little Calumet River are prepared if flooding occurs.

"Everyone is confident that any flood fighting that would be necessary will be performed in a timely manner and in a competent manner," Repay said in an e-mail sent to residents Wednesday morning. 

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the Little Calumet River Wednesday evening after a half inch to 1 inch of rain accumulated. The river was at 9.7 feet by 7 p.m. Wednesday, and the flood stage is 12 feet.

An estimated 1 inch to 3 inches of rain is expected to fall in the area by Thursday causing the Little Calumet River to continue rising, according to the National Weather Service's website.

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